Police have detained Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director MacDonald Chipenzi for issuing a statement advising the police to be open and transparent in their current recruitment exercise to avoid the widely held suspicion that militia would be infused into the service.
And the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has described the detention of Chipenzi as a crackdown by the state on the civil society organizations that were critical of government.
The police yesterday picked up Chipenzi from Long View Lodge in Chudleigh at a function where he was hosting former President Rupiah Banda at around 12:00 hours and was taken to Police Force Headquarters for questioning.
YALI president Andrew Ntewewe said the state was working at silencing the voices that were speaking on behalf of the majority Zambians whose rights were being violated.
Ntewewe told the Daily Nation that the civil society organisations were enraged that the police had decided to start harassing CSOs but has vowed that they would never be intimidated because their cause was to serve Zambia and provide oversight on government.
“We shall not be intimidated and the police must prepare enough cells because we shall not stop criticizing this government. We shall stand by Chipenzi and if they want to kill us, let them know that we are ready to pay the highest price and it is good that these things are happening to us at the time we are celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela who sacrificed everything to serve humanity,” Ntewewe said.
Meanwhile Patriotic Front (PF) Lusaka Province information publicity secretary Wellington Musonda is disappointed with the Zambia police for having failed to conduct transparent recruitment of new police officers.
Musonda has questioned the Zambia Police over the source of the names of the selected candidates when most of the candidates who had applied had not been picked.
Musonda said his party was disappointed with the secret manner the police had conducted the recruitment exercise stating that assertions that the police were recruiting the children of PF officials were not true
Chipenzi was at Force Headquarters until 16:00 when he was joined by Daily Nation proprietor Richard Sakala who had also been summoned over the same story.
Chipenzi and Sakala were later taken to Lusaka Central Police.
Chipenzi was detained to help the police with investigations over the statement but advised Sakala that they would write to him (Sakala) to officially ask him to report to police over the same story.
Later in the afternoon, Police summoned Daily Nation newspaper proprietor Richard Sakala in connection with the publication of a story Secret police jobs exposed in which the newspaper quoted the FODEP director who had stated that the secret recruitment was raising suspicions among Zambians.
Earlier in the day, police had issued a statement denying allegations that it was conducting a secret recruitment of new police officers and said the authors of the story would be prosecuted.
On Monday, the Daily Nation published a story that secret recruitment of police has been condemned as a possible conduit of fusing foreign trained militia into the mainstream police service.